Please accept my resignation from the group of interlocutors. It is no longer possible for me to be associated with Mr Ansari,who has sought to smear me in The Times of India of today,for attending a conference organised by European parliamentarians (Mr James Elles,in whose name the invitation was sent,and Mr Chris Davies) along with the Tramboo centre in Brussels,in September 2006.
I went to the conference with Ambassador G. Parthasarathy,who is currently on a GoI task force. We were both encouraged to go by GoI (in my case,the then-Kashmir interlocutor) on the grounds that it was useful for independent Indians to put their views in what was clearly going to be a heavily biased forum taking place in the European Parliament,because the European Parliament was an important forum and we have a strategic partnership with the EU. Before going we were briefed by MEA and were in touch with our embassy in Brussels before,during and after the conference.
Shortly before the conference I was asked by MEA to accompany Baroness Nicholson,who was writing a report on JK for the European Parliament,on her visit to JK. We became friends and in October 2006 I took a group of people from JK to the Parliament for a hearing under her aegis. The group included such people as Taj Mohiuddin,Arun Joshi,Pinto Norbu,Nusrat Andrabi (around 15),and was the first time European parliamentarians heard the diverse and genuine voices from JK. This conference was planned with the knowledge of GoI.
Baroness Nicholsons report caused a furore in Pakistan because it was the first time Pakistan was criticised for human rights violations in JK. Mr Tramboo then wrote several articles in the Kashmiri and diaspora media attacking me. After these articles,my name was picked up in jihadi chatter and I was warned there was a potential security threat against me. GoI investigated the threat and considered it to be minor but offered me protection,which I refused because I did not want my family to be alarmed and it seemed an unnecessary drain on the exchequer (however tiny).
Sir,I did not want to go to the Tramboo conference but did so because government thought it might be useful. After that one experience I refused ensuing invitations from the group,including an appeal for help from Mr Elles,and kept in touch only with Baroness Nicholson whom I admire and respect greatly.
Mr Ansari is in full knowledge of these facts because I sent a letter detailing them to both Dileep and himself,on our official email. (I wished to send this letter to the editors of the Jammu rags that had targeted me,but withheld it because I did not want to embarrass anyone). Yet he has sought to smear me. I consider his behaviour to be beneath contempt,especially because he has now targeted a woman who he knows has no male relatives left to defend her. I come from a family which has always considered it a privilege to work for this country,and all I have is my integrity,which has been impugned. You will,I hope,understand that it is now impossible for me to overlook Mr Ansaris behaviour,which has been grossly insulting to me from the start.
I will of course continue to work on the report which we are to submit to you at the earliest possible date. But I do not wish to be paid for this work from this date on,and I will not attend any meetings with Mr Ansari.
With deep regret for this unseemly end to what was an important and relatively productive mission,
Radha Kumar,Director,Peace & Conflict Programme,Delhi Policy Group